Apparently her name is Lasernita, which was news to me. It’s a play off of the last name of one of my friends from Bolivia, and I’m not sure why she was given that name inasmuch as he didn’t seem to have any special attachment to her. Since I never named her, I’ll go with it.
I’ll preface this by saying that stray dogs are actually a fairly common thing in South America, but they’re basically all friendly and seem to receive enough food to survive without much problem. There were probably about five or six strays roaming around the seminary where we were staying in Peru, including Lasernita.
One afternoon/evening, Mauricio and I had to run back to our room to grab something. It was setup like this: A giant door outside led into a room full of bunk beds, almost like you would see at camp or something. The door often would be somewhat open unless it was time for us to go to bed, in which case we would shut it (and if somebody opened it after that, the sound would wake the dead). As we were running back out, Maury pointed out that there was a dog sleeping in our room. She never woke up as I took a picture of her and we left.
The next night I came in late to find one of my roommates that I had gotten to know as a friend, Jorge, sitting on the bunk beds talking to a friend. I said hello and then climbed up onto my bunk, proceeding to do something, I can’t remember what.
All of a sudden, I thought I heard a bark. “Is there a dog in here?”
The two of them laughed. “Yeah, she’s under the bed.” I went over and looked, and sure enough, there she was! The same dog as the night before.
I started to take a picture and then she came out to look at me. I don’t really like to pet stray dogs but I just couldn’t help it. She proceeded to climb up onto a mattress that was on the floor and go to sleep.
I decided it wouldn’t hurt anything to let her stay the night. Then Jorge said she had to go outside, and the fireworks began. Okay, it was more like a mock argument in which we were having fun with one another, but both of us really did kind of want our way. At least, I know I did. This conversation is far from word-for-word, but it’s a general idea.
“She can stay. The Bible says that as we’ve done to the least of these we’ve done unto Jesus.” A little out of context, perhaps, but it sounded good.
“The Bible says you’re supposed to care for your own dog, not every stray.”
“She’s fine, she can stay!”
“You don’t know what kinds of diseases and things she’s carrying.”
“Oh, big deal, she’s fine.”
“Okay, well then I’m like the department of health,” he said. “Where’s proof of her vaccines, her rabies shot, etc?” Well, I guess he had a point. “And imagine this: What if somebody travels many kilometers to get here, only to lie on a bed that’s full of diseases and who knows what?”
“Well, can he not suffer a little for the Lord?” I asked, wondering what the Christian world was coming to when we couldn’t be expected to bear any type of cross. He laughed, then proceeded to say something about Revelation and dogs not entering the kingdom, which I told him didn’t mean literal dogs. “You’re going to feel terrible when you stand before the Lord and she comes walking up and Jesus asks what you did with her.” He thought that was hilarious and proceeded to further “discuss the matter” with me for a while.
Finally I channeled John chapter 8. “You Pharisee! Maybe you’re right and maybe she isn’t perfect and maybe she has diseases, but I just say let he who is without sin cast the first stone at her.”
And then, one by one, starting from the eldest unto the…Oh, different story, never mind.
Actually, he thought it was hilarious that I called him a Pharisee and while I think deep down he didn’t want her to stay, he was okay with it and so was Mauricio and everybody else sleeping in there.
We shut the door and as I got into bed the thought crossed my mind: What if she has to go to the bathroom? I figured we’d deal with that in the morning.
As I was drifting off to sleep, somebody entered the room and started to take her out. I sat up in bed. “What are you doing?”
“She can’t stay here.” And, unlike Jorge, he actually was serious. I fussed with him for just a minute but then decided it was best since it really would be a problem if she had to go to the bathroom and, honestly, who knows what she was carrying.
For some reason, when I woke up the next morning, she was on those mattresses again! I’m guessing somebody left the door cracked enough for her to get in. I gathered my things to get ready for the day, stepped out for about twenty minutes, and when I returned, she was no longer on the mattresses. I wonder where she went.
As I rounded my bed to put something in my suitcase, I got the answer to my question. Not content to simply lie on the mattresses, she had wandered over to my suitcase and was lying inside on top of my clothes!
Even I have my limits. The poor girl had to get out of the suitcase.
I’ve not started itching or anything yet, so I think I’m okay. I’m not sure I can say the same for those mattresses.